Born in 1958, Rashid Rehman was a Human Rights advocate. He was also a coordinator of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). Throughout his career of 31 years, he defended the rights of the downtrodden, weak; be it the poor brick kiln workers or tenants of military farms, the “honor” killing of Afsheen Musarrat, or the rape of Mukhtara Mai. In 2013, when no one was willing to take the controversial case of Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer at Bahauddin Zakariya University accused of blasphemy, Rehman stepped forward. He received death threats from the lawyers representing the complainant. The presiding judge did not take any action nor did the police which was informed about these threats later. HRCP also expressed its concerns about the security of Rehman to Punjab Government but to no avail. He was gunned down in his office in Multan in 2014.

Bishop John Joseph, Salman Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti, Rashid Rehman, Mashal Khan; Let’s see how the state is responding to the issue. Few years back, some bloggers were picked up on the false charges of blasphemy; last year thousand rupees’ notes were distributed among the people hijacking the state to hang Asia Bibi; this year Shahid Khaqan Abbasi accused Imran Khan of committing blasphemy. Perhaps, the state needs to act much more seriously, prudently, responsibly by providing security to people like Shahbaz Bhatti and Rashid Rehman who receive death threats, and by promoting such scholarly works as of Arafat Mazhar and Shahab Ahmed to curb religious extremism in the country.

“It is becoming more and more difficult for people

who have liberal views to stay alive in this country. And the state sits by like a spectator.”

–Asma Jhangir on the death of Rashid Rehman